Early childhood education professor combats online teaching restrictions

Early childhood education professor combats online teaching restrictions

Kennesaw State Senior Lecturer of early childhood education Katy Basch has maintained her dynamic teaching methods despite moving to remote learning.

Basch’s teaching philosophy revolves around finding applications for her lessons during class time. She said that the best way to apply teaching lessons is to use them as tools for education.

During a typical semester, Basch said she offered her students the opportunity to become both the teacher and the student in her class. In this way, she mimicked the structure of a childhood learning environment. Basch has utilized this structure to recreate many practice scenarios a teacher might encounter when interacting with their younger students.

This semester, things are different amid the health crisis. Instead of using a children’s book such as “The Tale of Despereaux” to provide an example of how to teach reading comprehension strategies in class, Basch said that her classes have discussed this content in groups online.

She said that her students have held discussions via web-based discussion platforms such as Zoom and Flipgrid. Basch’s students responded to the lessons by posting videos to Flipgrid to deliberate over answers, teach different strategies and share opinions with their classmates.

“It’s been great,” Basch said. “That way we can see each other face-to-face. I’ve really enjoyed using it with my students.”

Nearing the end of the semester now, students have made use of the teaching strategies they learned throughout the class to make an educational presentation. Together Basch’s students worked to create their own content with web hosting services like Weebly or media creation applications like Adobe Spark.

Typically, students would coordinate material by forming small groups in class. Since that is no longer an option, the students instead have used online conferencing platforms like Skype to meet. Basch said she was glad to have these platforms to continue the lessons she imparted in class.

“I have delivered so much face-to-face content,” Basch said. “Now we are applying a lot of what we’ve learned to [online] projects and presentations. It’s so great that we have these technological resources.”

Basch said she formulated much of her teaching repertoire as a second-grade teacher, before making the jump to KSU in 2002. She said she decided to teach college courses because KSU offered flexible scheduling, which allowed her to spend more time with her family and three children. Basch said that having experience teaching children and young adults made her both a better mother and educator.

“When your mom is a teacher, you get some extra benefits as far as information and experiences,” Basch said. “And even in my personal time, I am constantly thinking from the teacher perspective.”

Basch said that her favorite part about being an education instructor is teaching several classes at different course levels. Because of this, she is able to watch as students start their journeys toward becoming teachers, see them progress and even supervise them as they begin to lead classes of their own. She said that being able to see her students advance from the very beginning is extremely rewarding.

“To see that growth and that excitement and to help them prepare to become classroom teachers themselves — that’s pretty cool to me,” Basch said.

In the future, Basch said she plans to utilize Flipgrid and other online tools more often so that she will be better prepared for future situations requiring remote learning and to ensure a variety of teaching instruction.

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